DNC newsletter - February 2020



February 2020 

Message from the Commissioner

Kia ora. 

Competition and choice are good for consumers.

There are many .nz domain registrars providing domain name registrations, products and services. 

While we have lots of competition in the .nz domain name space, we must ensure the domain name market remains fair for everyone. 

The Commission must also remain available to consumers to help them solve any problems they may experience with their service provider.  
In 2019 we saw a lot of consolidation in the market. It’s one of the trends I talked about when I sat down with David Goldstein to reflect on last year. 

While there remains more than 80 .nz authorised service providers and many more resellers competing for consumers business, we remain alert to the changing nature of the local .nz and global domain name market. 

When it comes to changes in .nz  Registrars corporate structures and key personnel such as directors it is a requirement that Registrars seek the Domain Name Commissions permission to authorise any material changes. This is a key Registrar responsibility under our .nz authorisation agreement.  

Here at the Commission, we don’t want to see any back door entries to the market from companies not authorised to sell .nz domain names. Retrospective authorisation is not an option. 

There will always be changes in the industry, and the best companies should win the business of .nz registrants. What’s important is the Domain Name Commission authorises Registrars to enter the market and we are notified of any changes as soon as possible to make sure everybody is playing by the rules. 

In the coming months, we will be improving the way consumers access our services and how we report about the market like our recent publication of the annual average retail pricing of a .nz domain name . We all need to encourage healthy competition and make sure there is a real choice for .nz consumers. 

We look forward to having our first data-focused role filled at the Commission very shortly and enhancements to our contact centre to deliver excellent customer service. 

Ngā Mihi,


Now recruiting

We are on the lookout for someone passionate about helping us to tell our data story. We are recruiting for a data and business analyst to join our team. To apply for the job send us your resume and cover letter to [email protected].

Focused compliance efforts

In our continued efforts to keep .nz safe, trusted and secure we are working with InternetNZ to strengthen our data-led approach to our compliance efforts. Some of our recent initiatives include:

  • Collaborating with our MOU partners CERTNZ and DIA to suspend a number of domain names with fake registration details that are associated with illegal activity.
  • Using our fake webshop algorithm to flag domain name registration details for follow-ups.
  • Developing our information matching programme against the death register and companies register to make sure Nz registrants are real people and real companies. 
  • Sampling  a number of second-level domain namespaces including .ac.nz and school.nz for errors in registration details and
  • Building our internal passive DNS program with our contractors to provide us with daily compliance threat feeds.

We will be releasing two new guides to help with our compliance efforts. One to help liquidators handle domain name registrations and the other to outline our approach to systemic investigations.  

Crisis emergency response protocol

The Commission is pleased to have been involved with a small multistakeholder group that has developed the domestic online crisis response. The final version outlines some of the different responses that can be utilised during a crisis; how the process is activated and deactivated; and Key contacts for each agency. We are in the process of incorporating the response into our operations. 

Capacity building in the Asia Pacific

Staff attended the 77th meeting of the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Name Association in Melbourne and APRICOT 2020 which is mostly about Internet operations.

It was a good experience attending APRICOT and APTLD.  The workshop and conference parts of both conferences helped with underlying discussions on the varying defence methods against domain name abuse, the attack surface across the Internet and further insights on spoofing a domain.

A remarkable part of the event was the willingness of other ccTLDs and organisations from other related Internet areas to share policy making, enforcement and dispute resolution approaches.

After the events, we also hosted our MOU partner Mr Bill Tomon representative of the administrator for the Papua New Guinea Top Level Domain Name .pg. It was great for staff to meet with Bill and discuss regulatory, policy and technical approaches to running a registry.


Internet and Jurisdiction cross border guidance for content and domain name takedowns. 

The Internet and Jurisdiction policy network has produced a handy brief educational resource that helps guide law enforcement and other actors in their requests to tackle online abuses.

Download the materials here.

Dispute resolution updates   

Two lawyers from across New Zealand have been appointed to the Domain Name Commission’s independent panel of experts for dispute resolution in the .nz domain name space.

Rebecca Scott is a barrister at Harbour Chambers, specialising in public law and judicial review, civil and commercial litigation and Professional Discipline.

Jane Glover is a barrister practising from Sangro Chambers in Auckland. Jane specialises in intellectual property litigation and commercial disputes.

Congratulations to Rebecca and Jane on their appointments.  

Vincent Sit, student, Auckland Law School has also started working at the Commission for eight weeks to help produce our first case notes series as part of our efforts to provide better legal education materials to would-be users of our dispute resolution service.  

We are also still calling for expressions of interest to be added to a list of providers to provide domain name dispute resolution services.  If you are able to be a legal representative of an applicant or respondent then please get in touch. 
at [email protected].

Contact centre updates

Bex has joined the Domain Name Commission this month as our customer experience specialist. She is leading a number of incremental changes we are making before 30 April to our customer experience. 

In the near future lookout for improved customer service choices through our migration to the Amazon omnichannel cloud contact centre across voice and chat, the launch of our first 24/7 chatbot and opening of our live chat channel through our website.  

The .nz Advisory Panel releases its Issues Report 

The .nz Advisory Panel has hit a key milestone this month in completing its Issues Report. The report articulates the Panel’s identified issues with the existing policies that shape and regulate the .nz domain namespace.

Tip: be alert to tax-refund phishing

In the lead-up to the end of the financial year, we see a spike in the number of tax return phishing emails associated with .nz domain names.

It pays to be cautious when providing personal information and clicking links to emails of this nature - especially if you are not expecting these.

Both CERT NZ and Inland Revenue have some useful information on their website for what to look out for. If you receive one of the phishing emails associated with a .nz domain name please report it to us at [email protected].

Media and articles that caught our attention

Blacknight won't wait for a court order in cases of serious abuse.
Should catfishing be a crime?
DDoS Attacks Nearly Double Between Q4 2018 and Q4 2019
SIDN Takes Aim At Fake .NL Webshops Taking Down 4,500 In 2019

DNC news